CAMBODIAN forward Chan Vathanaka is determined to put his club career back on track at Pahang after his uneventful stint with Japan’s J3 League side Fujieda MYFC.
Vathanaka spent more time warning the bench during his 10-month loan spell at Fujieda before he returned to his Cambodian club, Boeung Ket Angkor FC.
The 23-year-old forward will now make his debut in the 2018 M-League after he agreed terms to sign for a season with Pahang, coached by Dollah Salleh.
He is also the first Cambodian to sign with a Malaysian club.
Despite receiving offers from the Thai League and Portugal’s Primeira Liga, the 2015 and 2016 Cambodian League Golden Boot winner chose Pahang as he believes the move will guarantee him regular football.
"After returning from the loan spell in Japan, my agent and I discussed about my future. I still wanted to play outside Cambodia, but I needed to pick a club that would use me regularly.
“In Japan, I only featured in two matches. When the offer from Pahang came, I realised that this could be a golden opportunity to get more matches and also improve in all aspects.
"Although, I was not a regular with Fujieda, I did gain from the experience. Communication was the biggest issue, but I took it as a challenge and overall, I improved a lot in Japan,” said Vathanaka.
Vathanaka, who was voted as Cambodia’s 2017 best player, is aware that Pahang are a big club and that he will need to fight for his spot in the team.
“I am excited. I believe my stint here will help my game progress. I trained for the first time on Friday with Pahang and everyone was friendly. I hope everything will fall into place for me here," he said.
Vathanaka, who scored a brace for Cambodia in the 3-2 defeat to Malaysia in the 2016 AFF Cup, hopes to use his skills and experience from dead ball situations to help Pahang win titles.
He has returned to Cambodia to attend personal issues and will only return on Jan 3.
Pahang assistant coach Ahmad Shaharuddin Rosdi rates Vathanaka highly and he believes the Cambodian will be an asset to the club.
Singapore defender Safuwan Baharudin has also joined Pahang from Premier League side Police.
It is also learnt that Pahang are hoping to secure their former striker Dickson Nwakaeme as the Nigerian is currently unattached after his stint with a French club last season.